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Duress

DURESS

Unlawful pressure exerted upon a person to coerce that person to perform an act that he or she ordinarily would not perform.

Duress also encompasses the same harm, threats, or restraint exercised upon the affected individual's spouse, child, or parent.

Duress is distinguishable from undue influence, a concept employed in the law of wills, in that the latter term involves a wrongdoer who is a fiduciary, one who occupies a position of trust and confidence in regard to the testator, the creator of the will.

Duress also exists where a person is coerced by the wrongful conduct or threat of another to enter into a contract under circumstances that deprive the individual of his or her volition.

As a defense to a civil action, the federal Rules of civil procedure require that duress be pleaded affirmatively.

Except with respect to homicide, a person who is compelled to commit a crime by an unlawful threat from another person to injure him, her, or a third person, will generally not be held responsible for its commission.

cross-references

Threats.

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duress

duress (dyŏŏ´rĬs, dŏŏ´–, dŏŏrĕs´), in law, actual or threatened violence or imprisonment, by reason of which a person is forced to enter into an agreement or to perform some other act against his will. The constraint or threat of constraint must have been directed toward the person thus compelled or toward the wife, husband, parent, child, or other near relative of the person compelled. Anyone who makes a contract under duress is entitled to void it and be free of its obligations, but in order to release him from the contract duress must be shown to have overcome his mind and will. However, annoyance and persuasion do not constitute duress. See also coercion.

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duress

du·ress / d(y)oŏˈres/ • n. threats, violence, constraints, or other action brought to bear on someone to do something against their will or better judgment: confessions extracted under duress. ∎  Law constraint illegally exercised to force someone to perform an act. ∎ archaic forcible restraint or imprisonment.

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duress(e)

duress(e) †hardness, harshness XIV; forcible restraint, imprisonment; constraint XV. — OF. duresse :- L. dūritia, f. dūrus hard; see -ESS 2.

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duress

duressacquiesce, address, assess, Bess, bless, bouillabaisse, caress, cess, chess, coalesce, compress, confess, convalesce, cress, deliquesce, digress, dress, duchesse, duress, effervesce, effloresce, evanesce, excess, express, fess, finesse, fluoresce, guess, Hesse, impress, incandesce, intumesce, jess, largesse, less, manageress, mess, ness, noblesse, obsess, oppress, outguess, phosphoresce, politesse, possess, press, priestess, princess, process, profess, progress, prophetess, regress, retrogress, stress, success, suppress, tendresse, top-dress, transgress, tress, tristesse, underdress, vicomtesse, yes •Jewess • shepherdess • Borges •battledress • Mudéjares • headdress •protectress • egress • ingress •minidress • nightdress • congress •sundress • procuress • murderess •letterpress • watercress • shirtdress •access

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